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What is that drives one to write a theater piece?

I remember the time I was eleven I wanted to write a play. No simple play but something like Shakespeare would have. It never struck me as impossible. I had not read the Bard but heard him spoken about by the grown ups.  Of course it was as good as written.

So I sat down to write and of course four lines and I could not go beyond. It was my first brush with reality that I could appreciate.

I still recall my play more or less.

King: ‘Who goes there?’

servant: I your majesty!

King angrily: call my son,prince!

Of course these many words would not have seen the light of day in my transcription book but for home theatricals my eldest sister organized from time to time.  She being 5 years older to me directed the play.  She also decided parts but we spoke lines off the cuff. She always took the plum role. Once she was the queen and I the prince, her son. My elder brother took the role of an evil genie. He brought for the occasion his prop, a blanket. My sister thought it would  do. When he wore it he became invisible. None of us took it otherwise.

The play was going on smoothly. Till the prince had to make love.  Had I known well then I would have called my self Hamlet. Of course I didn’t. My younger sister, nine was the poor girl to whom I had to speak my feelings. So I said how I loved her and would bring nice goodies and so on.

It was her turn and she said,’But you must not leave me holding the baby’.

That shut me up. I didn’t have a reply to that. Was it the awful feeling of truth (that child gets to hear of family scandals?)0r lack of an equally strong line to match? I do not know. It stopped however my playacting for good.

Of course I wrote a few plays later as an exercise and I know I would not bother reading them. It was merely derivative and weak lacking life experience.

My attempt to write like Shakespeare was a kind of awakening to my world and my attempt to write was my urge to speak with my own voice of that world. My life experience was the means to flesh them out.

benny

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